Asia | India | Goa | Palolem – Cruising down the back roads
Quite surprised. Seen more tourists on Palolem beach, supposedly the quietest of all, than I have in my whole time so far in India. Granted I haven’t been here for long, but still. It makes it seem non Indian in a way, almost European. Everyone speaks English, a lot of the music is from the charts back home, and all the restaurants cater for western tastes. Even serving Sunday roasts. Still, its a great place and if you get off the beach the western influences die down.
Now, part of the reason I wanted to come to Goa was because of the great scenes I saw of it in “Dil Chahta Hai”, so I was determined to find out where it was filmed. After hounding the guys at the beach huts, they found out that some of it was filmed at the old fort called “Cabo de Rama” on the west coast. Success!!
Next day off I set with Lydia, we rented 2 scooters and after a few minutes of wobbling around trying to figure out how to ride the things, took to the back roads. Fantastic!!! Why had I never done this before? Flying along on almost deserted roads, the wind blowing a refreshing wave of cool air, the rice paddies, villages, and glimpses of the Arabian sea all whizzing past.
Finally came to the fort. It wasn’t the exact place in the film but we couldn’t figure out how to get round there, but the view was the same we were just on the other side. Spent the rest of the day driving from village to village, then decided to head up to Ponda to check out the spice plantations. Now, driving through the town was not good. The traffic was awful, and kept stopping and starting. Not very comforting for a novice driver, but I survived. Did get a bit panicked once though, there I was zooming along when the key flew out of the ignition. Damn it!! I yelled to Lydia to stop, but she was gone, so I turned round and spent the next few minutes scrabbling in the dust looking for a needle in a haystack, and watched in amusement by a group of totally unhelpful men. Finally when I was about to have a fit and completely embarrass myself, I found it!! Just as Lydia turned up, having only just realized I was not behind her.
Stopped at the first plantation we came to which in hindsight was definitely a good decision. We just found it by mistake but when we drove in they were showing around some Israeli journalists and you could get a tour and lunch for 300 rupees, but we’d just eaten so we just asked for the tour. Then the plantation workers put on some native dances for us. They were amazing. The plantation was brilliant and I even climbed partway up a beetle nut tree, it looks like a coconut one, sort of, and you have to put rope around your feet and sort of shimmy up. Not easy in a sarong. Much harder than it looks. Even though we said we’d eaten they kept on piling us with food, basically everything grown on the plantation. Every fruit known to man, as well as all these gorgeous drinks, this spicy banana leaf dish, chicken tikka stuff, and it was all free.
Then we had to belt it back coz Lydia’ s train was leaving at 7pm and we only had 2 hours to get back, so there we are racing through the roads, then my petrol tank was reading empty and my maximum speed slowed so I was convinced I’d be stranded by the roadside with an empty tank, but managed to make it back safely.
All in all, it was definitely one of the best days I’ve had on my travels.